Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Direction

Hmmm, after reaching out one last time and having post about my negative blog entry from two days ago (which really isn't that negative), I finally get some email responses from some of the folks at the Friends of Perryville Battlefield group.  However, I am thinking too little, too late.  There are claims that I did receive email replies to my numerous inquiries, but I can say unequivocally that I did not.  If I had, why would I be so adamant about reaching out one last time?  Why would I send multiple emails asking the same questions and making the same suggestions over the last several months?  Probably because no replies were ever composed and sent.  Again, I just do not understand...if you put an email address out there for contact, then reply to it, timely, and without numerous further inquiries.

So, over the last few days I have been casting about, trying to find a new Civil War cause to support.  I've given money to the Friends group, just to be disappointed.  I've also given money to another Friends group in the past (a National Park group), and never received a newsletter from them either.  And no, I have no issues receiving any other mail.

I belong to the Civil War Trust as a Regimental Color Bearer, and as long as I am able to do that financially, I will continue my support of that top notch group.  I send them emails and get replies.  They communicate.  They are active.   And yes, I do understand they are not 100% volunteer, so they have staff to accomplish such things as email replies and publish the Hallowed Ground magazine.  But worthy, nonetheless.

I took a gander at Mill Springs Battlefield Association, Friends of Stones River National Battlefield (who doesn't appear to update their website very often, which could be a negative indicator), the Battle of Richmond Association, Camp Wildcat Preservation Foundation, and a few others.  The problem with most of the aforementioned is that they do not offer the hiking/interpretive opportunities I desire.  Stones River does have some miles of hiking trails, but those trails really do not offer the interpretation piece that I can do at places such as Perryville and Chickamauga.  Mill Springs may open up more trails, but I do not believe the trail system will be co-joining, meaning that there would either be sections of road walking or hopping in and out of cars to get from one trail to another.  Chickamauga is ideal, but at five and a half hours away becomes a bit more than a battlefield tour and more like a weekend outing.  Camp Wildcat is closer, and the Sheltowee Trace/Wilderness Road runs right through the battlefield, so a longer hike could be completed, but it is a long drive for a day hike.  Perhaps a one or two night backpacking trip would work there.  They have also opened up a few more trails to add to the interpretive piece.  Potential exists, and the battle for me to interpret to hikers and casual history buffs is fairly straight forward.

Not sure what all this will mean for the's not like I can change the name and/or the url to reflect any new direction.  I will try to keep a positive frame of mind about Perryville, but I will say that the positive frame of mind I once had has been tainted (bomp, bomp, tainted mind, oh ohh oh, tainted mind).

Stay tuned...things could get interesting!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Negative Blog Post Gets Response...Sort Of

It's sad really, that my blog entry from yesterday is what it took to get someone from the Friends of Perryville Battlefield group to respond on Facebook, but really, they did not respond to any of the questions I have been sending their way for months and months.  No response about membership, no response about what a Trailmaster is supposed to be doing, and a half hearted attempt to explain away the lack of a newsletter.  Then they tried to say they could leave a negative response about me?  I asked about what and they didn't give an answer.  Sad, so disturbing actually that folks simply cannot do what they said they were going to do, and then have the audacity to turn it back on me, without basis.

I've been bringing folks to Perryville for five years now, encouraging them to support the park.  While I will keep bringing folks to Perryville, I will no longer suggest they join the Friends group.  I will suggest that they have save the land by giving to the Civil War Trust.

I hate negativity, but at the same time I will call a duck a duck when it needs to be done.  As stated, I have enjoyed my face to face interactions with the folks involved, but working long distance with them has been frustrating.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Friends of Perryville Battlefield - Does It Truly Exist?

At times I know I am not the most patient person in the world, but in this day and age of world wide web, internet, email, social media, and any other instant communication device we have available to use, I find it difficult to understand the lack of response to emails, especially emails from persons with a noted track record of passion and promotion.

I keep trying to get SOMEONE from the Friends of Perryville Battlefield to respond to ANYTHING I send them.  I became a member a few years ago, was promised a newsletter, never received a reminder to renew when my membership ran out, and finally sent them a fairly large amount of donation when I renewed in 2011.  Still, no newsletter.  And still, no renewal reminder.  When I send emails to those listed as contacts on the various websites, I hear crickets (actually the crickets are louder).  How can a volunteer organization be so non-responsive to a person whom has brought several hikers and history buffs to a battlefield that most of those aforementioned types would not have traveled to on their own?  How can an organization make promises and not keep them?  (just where is that newsletter I have heard about?)  How can they not utilize a person's passion for their organization?  It has become a bit of a running joke for me now, knowing that I can reach out, but there simply is no one reaching back.  Heck, I even make comments on the Friends of Perryville Battlefield Facebook page and get no rise.

I hear you already..."Darryl, they are a VOLUNTEER organization, no one is getting paid in this endeavor."  Yes, you are correct, absolutely correct with no denial.  Serving as a board member to a volunteer organization in Ohio, I know exactly what volunteers can and cannot do.  Volunteers give of themselves, freely, to make organizations "better."  So believe me folks, I "get it."  I get being busy.  Busy is why I email as opposed to talk on the phone...easier to compose and send an email while I am doing other things.  But I also get being responsible.  If you put a website out there, update it regularly.  If you put a contact email address out there, be prepared to check it on occasion and reply to those pending emails in your inbox.  If you make a promise, keep it.

So here I sit, waiting around in Ohio for folks who live practically on top of one of my favorite places on earth to grab onto my passion and USE IT!  Each year I am giving of my (volunteer) time to lead hikes on the Perryville battlefield.  I am gathering together folks who come to that hallowed ground and become interested in the stories of the men and regiments that fought there.  Those people are also buying items in the gift shop, spending money to tour the museum, and helping the local economy by frequenting food and drink places, not to mention putting fuel in their cars, in the greater Perryville area.  Seemingly I am helping to spread the Perryville story, now will someone help me and reply to emails and send me a blasted newsletter?

Over a year ago I was named the Trailmaster for the Friends group.  I have NO idea what that means or what I am supposed to be doing.  But do my inquires (and there have been several) go answered?  No.

Funny thing is...I know how great the people I am lambasting are.  Hard working, kind, really great folks that you just instantly take a liking to (or maybe that is take a shine to).  My face to face interactions in the area have all been so favorable, so honest, so passionate.  How can there be such a disconnect?  How can these folks who I know care about Perryville be so distant?

I have tried one more email, one more attempt to prod anyone into action.  I hope that I get a reply, because my passion is starting to cool.


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